A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Long Climb - Porthcurno

I am in the process of transcribing a journal I wrote on my first trip to England in 1986.  It has been a very long time since I read through it and I certainly have become a more experienced traveler since then.  Everything was so new and exciting on this trip for both my daughter and myself.   So as I go through it, I will share some of the bits that I find amusing, interesting, or embarrassing with you.

Porthcurno is close to Land’s End in Cornwall and home of the famous Minack Theatre (which is another entry altogether).  This is the entry, only slightly edited, as we made our way there for the first of what would eventually be three visits.

We passed by famous Land’s End with only a glimpse from the top of the road.  We just couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for it and so went straight on into Porthcurno and began looking for the Minack Theatre.  We had already discovered, to our great disappointment, that we were in the middle of the two day layover between productions, but we wanted to see the theatre itself regardless.

At this point we did what has become something of a joke for us; that is, take a path or a road or a carpark when we arrive someplace, only to find there is another one (or two) which is  much shorter, closer, or less steep.  We took the “Coast Path” up to the theatre, not realizing we could have driven right up the land side of the hill to a carpark within mere feet of the ticket booth.  We rather suspected we were taking an alternate path when we began because of the sign posted warning against use by the aged or the infirm.  I can tell you firsthand that if you weren’t aged or infirm when you began the climb, you were by the time you reached the top.  The path took us up the cliff – I’m not stretching it at all when I call it a cliff – to a viewpoint overlooking the lovely sand beach across Porthcurno Bay.  At that point the path divided, we took what we hoped was the less challenging of the two with survival in mind.  When we finally made it to the top we labeled a new category of experience: ’ I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now or I wouldn’t have done what I’m glad I did.’  This applies most often to long climbs necessary to get somewhere and it seems there is a long climb necessary to get anywhere in England, so the list is growing fast.

What made the climb more than worthwhile was the breathtaking (no pun intended) vistas every time you stopped for a minute.  It was at this point that it occurred to me for the first time that I was looking at the Atlantic Ocean.  My rather limited experience with oceans had allowed me to subconsciously think of any body of water that extended beyond the horizon as the Pacific Ocean.  Obviously, this path was used only  just often enough to keep it visible in the grass, because there was not a single piece of litter to be seen and the wildflowers grew and were blooming everywhere.  It was a memorable experience.

The path went up the right side of this photo, somewhat above what can be seen here.
Photo by Oliver Beattie

And just for the record, we walked back to the carpark down the regular road.

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